University of Montana Catalog 2023-2024

Biology B.S. - Ecology and Organismal Biology

Bachelor of Science - Biology; Ecology and Organismal Biology Concentration

General Education Requirements

Information regarding these requirements can be found in the General Education Section of the catalog. 


Biology/Microbiology Lower-Division Core17
Upper-Division Core Courses Required by Ecology & Organismal Biology Concentration5
Additional Upper-Division Courses Required for the Ecology & Organismal Biology Concentration21
Organismal Course Requirement
-Ology Course Requirement
Specialized Ecology Course Requirement
Evolution Course Requirement
Required Courses Outside of the Major28-42
Mathematics - Calculus
Mathematics - Statistics
Advanced College Writing Requirement
Total Hours71-85


Degree Specific Credits: 71-85

Required Cumulative GPA: 2.0

Note: The Ecology and Organismal Biology concentration is for students interested in the biology of organisms (plants or animals) or the biology of populations or communities. Course offerings include those from organismal biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology. This concentration is a graduate prep program, and it is designed for students interested in academia or employment with government or environmental consulting agencies. This concentration is also an excellent choice for pre-veterinary students.

Biology/Microbiology Lower-Division Core

Note: The lower-division core should be completed before attempting most upper-division major courses. AP Biology credit with a score of 3 may be substituted for either BIOB 160N/BIOB 161N or BIOB 170N/BIOB 171N

Complete all of the following courses:
BIOB 160NPrinciples of Living Systems3
BIOB 161NPrinciples of Living Systems Lab1
BIOB 170NPrinciples of Biological Diversity3
BIOB 171NPrinciples of Biological Diversity Lab2
BIOB 260Cellular and Molecular Biology4
BIOB 272Genetics and Evolution4
Total Hours17

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Upper-Division Core Courses Required by Ecology & Organismal Biology Concentration

Complete one of the following courses:5
General Ecology
and General Ecology Lab (equivalent to 271)
Field Ecology (taken at the Flathead Lake Biological Station)
Total Hours5

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Additional Upper-Division Courses Required for the Ecology & Organismal Biology Concentration

Rule: Complete a minimum of 21 credits of upper-division BIOB, BIOE, BIOH, BIOL, BIOM, BIOO, or BCH course, with at least one course from each of the following subcategoriesOther recommended courses include BCH 380 or BCH 480-BCH 48221 total credits required.

Organismal Course Requirement

Complete at least one organismal course (lab must also be taken, if available) from the following list:3-4
Developmental Biology
General Genetics
Comparative Animal Physiology
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
Plant Physiology
and Plant Physiology Lab
Total Hours3-4

Minimum Required Grade: C-

-Ology Course Requirement

Complete at least one course with a focus on a group of organisms (lab must also be taken, if available) from the following list:3-5
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Lab (equiv to 260)
General Parasitology
and General Parasitology Lab
General Botany
Rocky Mountain Flora
Biology and Management of Fishes
Total Hours3-5

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Specialized Ecology Course Requirement

Complete one of the following courses:3-5
Freshwater Ecology
Ecosystem Ecology
Terrestrial Plant Ecology
Microbial Diversity Ecology & Evolution
Ecology of Infectious Diseases
Conservation of Wildlife Populations
Flathead Lake Biological Station courses (summer only):
Aquatic Microbial Ecology
Alpine Ecology
Stream Ecology
Conservation Ecology
Landscape Ecology
Lake Ecology
Forest and Fire Ecology
Total Hours3-5

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Evolution Course Requirement

Complete one of the following courses:3
Conservation Genetics
Phylogenics and Evolution
Behavior & Evolution
Plant Evolution
Host-Microbe Interactions
Total Hours3

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Required Courses Outside of the Major

Mathematics - Calculus

Note: Students should choose M 171 if they plan to take additional calculus courses if they plan to double major or minor in a field that requires more calculus (e.g. astronomy, math, physics, biochemistry, computer science).

Complete one of the following courses:4
Applied Calculus
Calculus I
Total Hours4

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Mathematics - Statistics

Note: Students should choose the full year of statistics for graduate preparation in ecology.

Complete either one semester or a full year of statistics from the following:4-8
One Semester:
Introduction to Statistics
Full Year:
Statistical Methods I
and Statistical Methods II
Computer Data Analysis I
and Computer Data Analysis II
Total Hours4-8

Minimum Required Grade: C-



  • Students who begin in the advanced chemistry sequence may substitute those courses for introductory sequence courses at the discretion of the major advisor. 
  • Students should choose the advanced sequence for graduate preparation in organismal biology or pre-veterinary medicine.
Complete a sequence of general and organic chemistry:10-20
Introductory Chemistry (10 credits):
Introduction to General Chemistry
Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry
and Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry Lab
Advanced Chemistry (20 credits):
College Chemistry I
and College Chemistry I Lab
College Chemistry II
and College Chemistry II Lab
Organic Chemistry I
and Organic Chemistry I Lab
Organic Chemistry II
and Organic Chemistry II Lab
Total Hours10-20

Minimum Required Grade: C-


Complete one of the following Physics sequences:10
Algebra- and Trigonometry-based Physics:
College Physics I
and College Physics I Laboratory
College Physics II
and College Physics II Laboratory
Calculus-based Physics:
Fundamentals of Physics with Calculus I
and Physics Laboratory I with Calculus
Fundamentals of Physics with Calculus II
and Physics Laboratory II with Calculus (require M 171 and M 172)
Total Hours10

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Advanced College Writing Requirement

Rule: To complete the Advanced College Writing Requirement, Biology students take 2 or 3 partial writing courses (either three 1/3 writing courses or one 1/3 writing course and one 2/3 writing course) or one complete writing course. The Ecology & Organismal Biology concentration requires one 2/3 writing course (BIOE 371). The Advanced College Writing Requirement is completed with one more course, chosen from any of the following.

1/3 Advanced Writing Courses

BCH 482Advanced Biochemistry II3
BIOB 410Immunology3
BIOB 425Advanced Cellular & Molecular Biology3
BIOB 483Phylogenics and Evolution3
BIOE 403Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy4
BIOE 409Behavior & Evolution Discussion1
BIOE 428Freshwater Ecology5
BIOM 402Medical Bacteriology& Mycology3
BIOO 320General Botany5
BIOO 434Plant Physiology Lab1
BIOO 470Ornithology4
BIOO 475Mammalogy4

Minimum Required Grade: C-

2/3 Advanced Writing Courses

BCH 486Biochemistry Research Lab3
BCH 499Senior Thesis/Capstone3-6
BIOB 411Immunology Laboratory2
BIOB 499Undergraduate Thesis3-6
BIOE 342Field Ecology5
BIOE 371General Ecology Lab (equivalent to 271)2
BIOM 411Experimental Microbial Genetics Lab1
BIOM 499Undergraduate Thesis3-6

Minimum Required Grade: C-

Complete Advanced Writing Course

BIOH 462Principles of Medical Physiology3
BIOM 420Host-Microbe Interactions3

Minimum Required Grade: C-